Tag: meth side effects

Attending Crystal Meth Harm Reduction Groups

[Editor’s Note: Brendon O’Rourke is the GaySocialites.com Substance Abuse Specialist. Each of his columns, like the one below, features editorial content from Brendon as well as a excerpt from a journal he kept while in his active drug addiction. Make sure you come back every Thursday for Brendon’s latest column! For help with addiction please visit Treatment 4 Addiction]

Money was tight every week for Erik and I. We were paying a weekly rent of $200 dollars at Robert’s apartment. Coming up with that money each week proved to be a challenge so we had to come up with other creative ways to make money. Erik would escort from time to time which was an easy way to get fast money. We would also occasionally make a little money from selling crystal meth, however most of these funds went back into feeding our own habit.

One day, Robert mentioned to us that there was a crystal meth harm reduction class at a local community center where participants received a $20 dollar Ralphs gift card for their time. This sounded like a good deal to me. We needed the money and $20 would provide more than enough groceries for me since I was actively on the crystal meth diet.

We started attending these crystal meth harm reduction classes for the next four weeks. These classes were very different that other 12 step groups I had attended. These groups would talk about the dangers of crystal meth but would give suggestions on how to use it more “safely” (if that’s even possible). They recommended complete abstinence from the drug but were not adamant about it. I think they realized that the majority of the people who attended this meeting were there for the free grocery card. It was a way to get people in the door to teach them about the dangers of crystal meth with the hope of maybe getting through to someone.

At the time I actually enjoyed going to these classes. I listened, learned, and Identified with a lot of the things they had to say. Erik on the other hand seemed to have no interest in listening to what was being said and spent the entire time playing games on his phone…


9/19/2008
I for one actually really enjoyed the crystal meth harm reduction class tonight. So many things struck cords with me. They talked about the link between meth users and signs of irritability, restlessness, depression, anxiety, even suicidal thoughts. These are all of the things I have been feeling lately causing a great deal of strain on our relationship. Part of me wants to stop using completely but I know that’s only possible if you stop with me, I can’t do it alone. I asked you this afternoon while we layed in bed if you were happier when we were clean and sober. You didn’t respond right away and then I realized you had peacefully fallen asleep. I just don’t think we can survive doing this for that much longer.

 

Even though I was using meth on a daily basis, I still romanticized the thought of being sober and having a regular life. All I really wanted at the time was to have my own place with Erik, be happy together and do things that normal couples do. I knew deep down the only way that this would ever be possible was if we both quit using drugs and got sober. I knew Erik was not ready to give up drugs. I would bring this up to him every now and then but he tended to always avoid the question. At this time holding onto that relationship was a good enough excuse for me to continue using drugs. And who was I kidding? I wasn’t ready to give it up either.

Destroying My Body, Mind & Spirit with Crystal Meth

[Editor’s Note: Brendon O’Rourke is the GaySocialites.com Substance Abuse Specialist. Each of his columns, like the one below, features editorial content from Brendon as well as a excerpt from a journal he kept while in his active drug addiction. Make sure you come back every Thursday for Brendon’s latest column!]

Shortly after I began abusing crystal meth on a daily basis, I noticed some serious side effects and started developing medical problems. While active in addiction, my skin was absolutely horrible. I was always in the middle of an indefinite breakout. When I was high, I would tweak out and pick at my face or other parts of my body for hours at a time. The incessant picking left terrible red wounds all over my body that I would unsuccessfully try to cover up with makeup.

Picking at breakouts would sometimes cause skin inflammation that would soon develop into a cyst-like lesion on my body. I soon realized that some of these zits might actually be something more serious. My boyfriend Erik was convinced that I had a bad staph infection, he was right. Due to my heavy drug use and weakened immune system I began getting staph infections on a regular basis. At one point I had a really terrible infection on my shoulder about the size of a golf ball. Erik had also been getting staph infections but told me that mine looked really bad and suggested that I go the emergency room…


8/17/08

Just got back from ER. They had to drain out my staph infection, it was fucking gross. It had gotten so big. Erik made me go, he said it looked really bad and that they would fix it for free, they can’t turn me away, so I went. It fucking hurt, they stuck this huge needle in my shoulder and the stuff spewed out everywhere, so gross. I couldn’t look at it – it was so painful. When the nurse was taking down some information she asked for my address. Told her I didn’t have one at the moment. She asked how often I used drugs and if I was using needles. I told her I use every day but don’t inject. She gave me some speech about not doing it or something. Whatever, just fix my shoulder bitch, who asked you. They gave me a prescription for antibiotics. I hope they work. Right now I have a large gaping hole in my shoulder. Looks like a bullet wound or something. I probably should stop, but don’t want to, I still want to have fun.

At this phase in my addiction my body was in awful condition and I was extremely underweight. I probably weighed about 140 pounds, which is not a lot for a guy who is six feet tall. The staph infection healed up but over the next months, but I continued getting smaller infections on a recurring basis. In addition to all of the physical side effects of meth, my brain was a complete mess. I would have auditory hallucinations on a regular basis as well as occasional visual hallucinations. I remember walking down the street and swearing I heard people screaming out my name. When I turned around there was no one there, it was all in my head. Whenever I took a shower I would hear terrible screaming and yelling as if there was someone fighting in the room next. But as soon as I turned off the shower the noises would stop. I was losing my mind.

I had been homeless for a few months now and was struggling daily to find drugs and a place to crash. If this happened to any normal person who was not a drug addict chances are they would have stopped a long time ago. It would be absolutely insane to keep using drugs if these were the consequences. Since I suffer from the disease of addiction, I could not stop – nor did I want to. I still thought there was fun to be had despite my body shutting down and the other countless consequences. My drug addiction had a strong hold on me and I was not willing or ready to let meth go.

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